Matt Johnston

Matt Johnston
Age: 36 yrs old
Occupation: Manager at Buzz Cafe

What is your athletic background?

I would say my athletic background is former fat kid, I played soccer until my Freshman year of High School when they forced us to run more(I was always a defensive player so I never had to run the field that much) after that I picked up theater and smoking so running was out of the question. Other than that I was forced to play basketball in Junior High because my mom wanted to make friends with the other Junior High moms, I scored one free throw, that’s right, a full year and I only scored one point. I did caddie at Riverside Golf Club for seven summers which took care of my fat kid issues at least until I went to college and discovered beer. In my early 30’s I attempted running which helped get rid of the fat kid again only to lose discipline and welcome him back in full force. Currently I play softball on Sundays and in the past played flag football, volleyball, dodgeball, and kickball in the lgbt leagues.

What was your workout routine prior to CF Spero?

Prior to CF Spero my workout routine consisted of sitting on the couch and having a beer. I think I went for a run some time in September then I started with CF Spero at the end of October.

How much weight have you lost since you began?

I have lost 10 lbs, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ve also had to purchase a new belt because my waistline has gotten smaller and I have muscles where muscles didn’t exist before.

What was your first experience with CrossFit?

My first experience with CrossFit was with you at CrossFit Spero, I honestly had no idea what it was until I interviewed you for the Buzz back at the end of October, after the interview I spent about three days trying to decide if I was going to bite the bullet and contact you for the free introduction course, honestly part of me at the time was hoping you wouldn’t be able to find the time for me to get into the gym.

When did you start CF?

October 2015 was my free introductory class/first start with CrossFit.

Why did you choose CF Spero?

I’m the type of person that needs motivation and having a gym three blocks from work makes it hard to not be motivated to go. The people(coaches and members) are the main reasons I keep on choosing CF Spero instead of finding a gym closer to home.

What keeps you coming back?

The people, the changes I’ve seen in my body and mood, the atmosphere, and the sense of friendship that develops over time with the same people when you work out together/do something positive for yourself and the community at large.

Why do you live in Chicago?

I was born in Chicago and have loved this city for all of my life, I have seen some beautiful cities all over the world but in my mind none of them compare to Chicago. The people, architecture, art, theater, food, family, and even seasons keep me here.

What do you do for a living?

Morning Manager at the Buzz Cafe.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Softball, movies, sleep, now working out, going out to eat, travelling, and reading.

What do you like about Oak Park?

I think Oak Park is a great place to raise a family, we moved here from Chicago in 1986, being close to the city forced us to be less sheltered but we could still walk to and from school without our parents. Granted my parents were the type to tell us to take the city bus when we were kids so being sheltered wasn’t something we grew up with.

What are one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF?

My major improvement is my mood, I find that I am a much happier and more positive person than I was in the past. I would say my second is losing my love handles and increasing muscle mass, I have muscle where muscle didn’t exist before!

What are your goals for 2016?

Get my blood pressure down enough where my doctor will take me off my blood pressure medication.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CF?

Do it yesterday! Seriously though CrossFit is like anything else in life, you aren’t going to see the results unless you put the effort in but once you put the effort in it’s totally worth it. When I first started I wouldn’t look at the posted workout because I didn’t want to know what it was going to be, I showed up and just did it, I figured if I didn’t know I couldn’t leave after I got to the gym so I’d be forced to do the workout. Now I go four times a week and track my personal records. Oh and don’t worry so much about what the scale says, muscle weighs more than fat, at least I’m holding Dave and my doctor to that information.

What’s your favorite and least favorite CF movement?

I think my favorite and least favorite moment happened on Memorial Day when we did Murph. Murph is one of the most intense work outs I’ve experienced in my life, it’s a mile run followed by 100 pull-ups,200 push-ups, and 300 air squats after which you get to do another mile “run”. About halfway through I thought I was never going to make it to the end I was a sweaty mess and for a minute or two though I was going to pass out. After it was all over the sense of accomplishment as well as the knowledge of why we do Murph on Memorial Day reinstated why I enjoy CrossFit so much and what keeps me coming back.

Whats your favorite meal?

Pizza, any kind really.

Anything else you would like to share with the Spero family?

Thanks to everyone I’ve worked out with, you are all an inspiration in your own way, shape, and form. I feel truly lucky to have met you and spent time working out with and grumbling with all of you and am looking forward to keeping it going!

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